A Dark Horse Shines In The City Of Gold: Up Close And Personal With Msimeki Nkatingi.
By Phumzile Mavimbela
We met up with a young Johannesburg businessperson by the name of Msimeki Nkatingi. He hails from the beautiful province of Limpopo where he grew up in the City of Polokwane. He does however insist that “please don’t forget to mention that I was born in Giyani and that my family comes from the village of Valdezia.” Having moved from the City of Cape Town in 2016, where he lived for 6 years while doing a BCom and a Diploma in Multimedia Design and Production; Msimeki came to the city of gold in the hopes of growing his business. After a sit-down interview over a cup of coffee, which he insists “is life”, this is what he had to say:
Firstly, how would you describe yourself if I met you in the elevator?
Hmmm, that’s an interesting question; Uhm, I’d say that I’m a creative entrepreneur or business person who really wants to play his part in solving the problems that my immediate society has. I love learning new ideas and schools of thought, and I believe that work ethic trumps any talent. Oh, and would you like to have a chat over coffee? Cause coffee is life. Haha
What gets you going when you wake up each morning?
I’ve fallen in love with this idea of the Dark Horse, where you are relatively unknown and you’re not expected to win because of where you come from. I think the potential of actually winning is quite exciting in itself. Like what happens if I do what I said I would do, and better yet if I do it exceptionally well?
I also believe that a lot of us are quite privileged in many ways, After all, privilege is relative. Someone out there can always do more with what you have, so try and make the most of it right?
You say you’re a creative entrepreneur, what does that mean? I’m still trying to figure out if “business person” or “entrepreneur” is better suited, cause everyone has their own definition of what all these terms mean. But basically, what I believe it means is that I like creative solutions to problems that I bump into where I can help. I’m also not oblivious that things need resources and time and skills to run; and that all these need money. So that’s where the entrepreneur or business person comes in. I think people must get paid their fair portion based on the value that they bring in solving problems.
What creative business or entrepreneurial ventures have you been a part of? When I left high school, I started a multimedia business that was supposed to take over the world [laughs], but that didn’t work out. The biggest lesson I learned was that when finding people to work with, pick people that share the same vision, goals and work ethic. Having the right people for the job is more important than having the people that you get along with the most. Commit to the mission before you commit to each other.
Fast Forward many years later and I’m involved in quite a few ventures now. I’m the Founder and Managing Director of MIN Creative Co, a branding and marketing agency, a co-founder of Joburg Post, a news publication, because the media is important. We’re also in the Beta phase of an app that I joined called MySportsbook, which is a social media platform and networking app for the sports community and fans all round. And lastly one thing that I’m quite excited about is a new e-commerce site called WOOSH.
What was your goal when you started or joined each of these ventures? With MIN Creative Co I was in my final year of design school in Cape Town and had been doing a lot of creative freelance work since leaving high school. My next move was to either look for work as an economist or try [to] continue on that wave. I’ve always been entrepreneurial and so I decided that what I loved about the creative industry was that you didn’t need qualifications as much as you needed a good portfolio. My vision for MIN was to connect and collaborate with creatives who do dope work.
Joburg Post was one of those things where I was at the right place at the right time. I met my business partner in the elevator at the office park we both happened to be using in Sandton and after a few months decided to build the publication two-man. It had been an idea that he’d had for years, but I guess just needed the right time and partner.
MySportsbook is literally quite similar to Joburg Post, and I thought the idea was brilliant. WOOSH, this is a site that is a result of realising that there’s a market space for a lot of online retail in South Africa. After my team at MIN Creative Co finished branding, marketing, and building an online store for Mrs. Yolande Jawe and her Yolz Beauty brand in 2020, I asked her if she’d be willing to partner with me for this idea I had since she’s mastered the logistics of e-commerce and she agreed.
Lastly, what is your hope for the future of South Africa?
My hope is that we can get people out of poverty. I think that it’s all good and well to try and create industrialists, but only once we’ve got the basics right. Let’s all play the little part that we can in moving the nation forward.
For me, the biggest thing is education, formal and informal. If you have skills and know-how, then you can’t go to bed on an empty stomach. We have made it a point to share knowledge on our website in the library section at MIN Creative Co to help creative people find ways in which to improve their craft and make money from it. I am also a columnist for the Joburg Post with my weekly contribution on how to start and run small businesses for the average person, nothing fancy, but a spaza shop can feed a whole family and take people to university.
The one thing I was taught as an economist was this term “ceteris paribus”, meaning all things remaining equal or the same. We used this a lot whenever applying a theory in order for it to work. But one thing that life has taught me is that nothing remains the same or equal, and chances are that everything affects everything. So, with that in mind, I know that we aren’t looking for a perfect solution and that everything will have its shortcomings, but how can I do my part in helping as much as I can with the little that I have?